Visualizing Major Scales Quickly And Easily Pt.1

This lesson is the first one that we are going to do here at GuitarLessons365, to develop the ability to truly see all major keys across the entire fingerboard.

This obviously is no small feat, and is a goal that most guitarist's no matter how long they have played, will never accomplish.

I think this is mostly due to the methods that people use to learn their scales on the guitar. Instruments like the piano seem to be much easier for musician's to visualize keys, that is why a lot of guitarist's write on the piano.

My goal with this lesson and every other lesson I do with this subject is to help you completely break out of your playing shell and be able to have full command of major/minor keys and modes all over the fretboard.

Having said that, you must understand that any method is just that, a method. It is to teach you how to teach yourself. But, if you don't actively try and make it part of the way you look at the instrument every time you pick it up, it will never become natural.

However, I have used many methods to try and get my private student's to be able to visualize their fretboards, and I never had much success until I came up with this way of looking at things. It made my playing more secure and changed completely how my advanced students played and improvised on the guitar.

So this first video is pretty much just a pre-requisite video on the method, and we will really dig in deep in the next one coming tomorrow. Until then....

If these free lessons help you, please donate to keep new ones coming daily. Thanks!! πŸ™‚

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Visualizing Major Scales Quickly And Easily Pt.1


  1. Pete on February 11, 2010 at 9:52 am

    You are just a damn good guy for doing all of this. I will be sure to give you what I can to help you out.

    Your work that you have put in is more than appreciated, and you are one of very FEW teachers that cover things thoroughly while not having an ego.

    Thanks again, and keep up the brilliant work.


  2. Carl Brown on February 11, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Thanks a lot Pete, I am very thankful for the kind words. I will keep doing my best to come up with the best lessons I can. It will be interesting to see all the lesson material that will be up by the end of the year. I just hope to make it a great resource for guitarist’s.

    Thanks Again for your support, hope to hear from you again soon!! Carl.. πŸ˜€

  3. ARMaddy63 on March 6, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Interesting…hmmm, I’m a ‘root chaser’ and didn’t know it although I can play in other places…That’s why I don’t like really doing leads in the key of C very much…or D in a sense because you dont’ get the low AND high places to CHASE…hmmm…I’m watching…

  4. kennyboy on March 11, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Carl, I just stumbled across you site via You Tube, and as a player/teacher from the old school, I have to say I am very impressed with your dedication and knowledge , pertaining to your music. You are offering a tremendous amount if info, through this site. I will be enjoying this for a long time to come , I hope, and so will my students, the more info they can get the better. I will certainly consider contibuting finacially, when possible .I think you are offering a great service to the music community….many thanx
    Kenny Walton Toronto Ont. Canada.

  5. Carl Brown on March 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Thank you so much for the great support. To hear feedback like that from a fellow guitar teacher is incredible. I certainly hope that I can continue to come up with new and interesting ways of approaching guitar study for everyone for a long time to come. I really appreciate you taking the time to check out my site and that fact that you are going to recommend it to your students to supplement their studies with you is priceless.

    Thanks once again and I certainly hope to hear from you again a lot in the future. Cheers!! Carl..

  6. colin on March 11, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Carl,

    I certainly will make contribution to you and your dedicated WEB Site..

    I am new here..I can’t find the mterial in PDF anywhere…Please hel!

  7. Carl Brown on March 12, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Hey Colin thanks for the support. You can find the TAB of the scale forms used in this lesson if you look on the Advanced Lessons Archive page under the scale studies section. You will see a link to the 3-notes-per-string major scales that I use in this lesson. Click on that and you will find a video and TAB on that page. Plus, you will also need knowledge of keys to do this lesson as well so if you need that go to the theory lesson archive page and click on the “Understanding Keys” lesson and you will find the PDF download for that as well. Thanks a bunch for following along, let me know if you need anymore help. Carl.. πŸ˜€

  8. Roger lynch on November 12, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Hey Carl,your knowledge about the guitar blows my mind and is helping me in so many ways!! Before I woud just play covers and understand nothing about the guitar but you’ve helped me learn a lot and I will try to help finnacially when possible!! I’m stuck on something though,I have no clue what you mean by the 6th degree and all that good stuff!! I know all my notes on every string sharps and flats but don’t know what all that is coming from!! Can you help me with this or give me something to search that would?! Thanks again!!

  9. Bobby Lee on November 27, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Bless you carl and thank god for you this is the most inspiring tuition site Ive encountered and you have a great insight hence its easy to understand you and long may you prosper amen

    • Carl Brown on November 28, 2010 at 5:12 pm

      Hey thanks a lot Bobby! Hope to hear from you a lot in the future, please let me know if you need any help at all.

      Carl… πŸ˜€

  10. chris jones on December 26, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Hey Carl, i just wanted you to know how much i appreciate your hard work and dedication in putting up this site for everyone. I am a self-taught guitarist. That would have been not possible without wonderful people like you. Thank you for everything. I hope to be able to earn enough one day to give back to kind people like you. Thank you.

    • Carl Brown on December 26, 2010 at 5:42 pm

      Thanks a lot Chris, I appreciate you visiting my site!! πŸ˜€


  11. Paul on January 25, 2011 at 1:22 am

    I’m having a go at this while still trying to memorize my keys.
    I found it useful to note that “F” is going to be sharp in all the sharp keys and natural in all the flat keys.

    To remember what scale tone “F” was going to be in a given key I “count, or spell” backward from “F” to the key I’m using. i.e. F=1, E & Eb = 2, D & Db = 3, C=4, B & Bb =5, A & Ab = 6, and G & Gb = 7. Having done this a few times I can now remember what scale tone “F” is in all the keys and hence what pattern to start with referencing the “F zone” on the 6th string.

  12. hillard harless on March 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    thanks for the help currently disabled for passed three years so started playing again after 20yrs usedto play mostly blues and southern rock aways wanted to play and understand jazz. will try to give a little soon as I can. again thanks and God Bless

  13. John on April 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    I know it’s a bit off topic, but what pickups are those on your strat? I’m a strat user myself and i’m planning to get some mini humbuckers as well…

    • Carl Brown on April 7, 2011 at 10:47 am

      Hey John, at the time I shot this video I had a Dimarzio Fast Track 2, Pro Track and Chopper installed into my EJ strat. I have since put the original single coils back in. πŸ˜€

      Thanks for watching!! Carl..

  14. Rafat :D on July 12, 2011 at 4:48 am

    hey carl πŸ˜€ ive been fiddling with your site since yesterday ….. and ive seen a bit πŸ˜€ you obviously know what your doing πŸ˜› im self taught …. and ……..ive been playing like 4 months :S so yea …… here it goes ….. ( deep breath ) ………… i cant solo ( or is it improvising ) on my own :S i mean i cant make random solos up :S ………. so ive been looking into your scale videos and stuff and its still not being able to help me with my cause -__- Mind helping me out pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ???

    • Carl Brown on July 12, 2011 at 11:33 am

      Hey Rafatt, I will be having a full guitar course on that very topic go live on the website sometime this summer. Hopefully you will find what you need there. πŸ˜€

      Thanks!! Carl..

  15. Cris :) on October 16, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    πŸ˜€ thanks to you my friend this really help. Teaching guitar is really your passion πŸ™‚ God Bless u. πŸ™‚

  16. David Taylor on April 7, 2012 at 3:28 am

    I am just getting my head around these three notes per string scales and keys. Good stuff but it is a bit scary to think that I need to nail this just to be able to play against major keys. So much of the stuff I listen to does not stay diatonic. So how do I link this stuff to get my head around actual songs or solos?

  17. Chris Goss on July 29, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Hi Carl. It seems to me that in addition to being able to spell out the major keys vis the understanding keys lesson we should also memorize each major key scale in order to quickly recall which note is in what place using the 6’th string. Is this correct or am I just making more work for nothing…

    • Carl Brown on July 30, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      Yes you are correct. You will want to make sure you not only know the notes, but what number they are in the key as well (ie. E is the 5th note of A major). If you can do this well you will be able to visualize any key anywhere on the fretboard very quickly. As an added bonus you ability to improvise with the modes will happen with no extra study at all.

      I find that knowing your intervals is the quickest way to accomplish that. Like 5ths= A-E B-F C-G D-A E-B F-C G-D. These are all perfect 5ths except for the B-F but don’t worry about that. Knowing what letter names area a 5th apart and the same for 3rds, 4ths, 6th and 7ths will get you to the correct letter name. Then it is just about know what kind of that letter name is in the key you are looking for. For instance, Eb E or E#. You find the letter name by using intervals, then you will know if that letter name is natural or has a flat of a sharp by your knowledge of keys.

      For me it was much easier thinking of intervals to find the placement of the key. Also keep in mind, there aren’t that many keys. All of this thinking will go away and you will just automatically know every note in every key and it’s position within the key without really thinking about it. The more you work with them the easier it becomes.

      Within 2-3 months you will probably be super fast at it. πŸ™‚


  18. john Okrasa on October 15, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Hi Carl,

    I’m plugging away at it, saying the notes to myself as I go ( if sharp or flat etc ). It seems to me that this would take a long time to be able to do it easily in all keys. Am I right? How long would you say it should take on average to be able to learn/do this? All major keys 15 of them ? Trying not to get discouraged πŸ™‚

    • Carl Brown on October 16, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Hey John, it won’t be about doing that process in your head every time you want to improvise in a key.

      Hopefully, within a few weeks you would have worked with each key so many times you don’t need to work it out anymore. You will simply know the 7 notes of each key instinctively.

      It doesn’t happen overnight though. This method is just a process to help you figure the notes out in your head without relying on paper. But in a real playing situation, you will just know them without thinking.


  19. ynot sants on January 9, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Hi Carl amazing lessons. Want to send some contribution. Any address or account

    • Carl Brown on January 9, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Hey thanks a bunch! You can send any donations to me by clicking on the donate link at the very top of every page on the site. It will take you to a page to make a donation via Paypal. πŸ™‚

      Thanks again for the support!


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